Recently, this author was helping a friend practice for a personal training exam. In between sets of poor form calisthenics, we discussed how particular exercises would help us in a mutual hobby we shared. Having the awareness, the lightbulb moment, that particular exercises I had never tried before would support another activity was a real motivator. It was also something else, transforming the session from just assisting a friend practice for the creation of their PT service into a valuable experience..
Afterwards, I suggested the PT build a rapport with his future customers that included discovering their hobbies and incorporating these hobbies into their sessions. This isn't a revolutionary idea, but it is evolutionary one, as people come to expect more from their service interactions. It is something we know already, only requiring a slight perspective change, from running a service to thinking of what people want from one.
As an idea, it makes the most logical sense. If we can shape the service to fit the wants and personality of customers, it creates an emotional connection between the two parties. After all, it's what customers have come to expect. A customer experience trends report by Zendesk found that respondents expecting some kind of personalised experience numbered at 76%! In 2020, McKinsey believed that a personalised experience is now a hygiene factor, part of the overall experience we come to expect. If that was the belief 4 years ago, the desire for more personalised experiences can only evolve from there. Personalised experiences can take the form of all kinds of things and be applied to any kind of service. Zendesk can provide it by using a customer's preferred method of contact to communicate with them and, as we can se above with the PT example, we can incorporate customer interests into our service, making the process or end-result more suited to their wants and personality. So, what are the benefits of doing this?
Increased Customer Loyalty
Arguably the biggest benefit, personalised experiences increase the chances that customers will repeat their custom. One reason behind this is the emotional connection that is generated. There is a sense that the service provider, whichever industry they are a part of, has gone off script, to provide something that is unique to the customer. As mentioned, doing this isn't something new, but it is something often overlooked as services , as well as instances where the feeling is of services fulfilling contracts as opposed to doing what is right for the customer. In the modern world, people seem more open to calling out what they see as a cynical approach to service provision, or doing what's right for just the contract; they are much more aware of and in-tune with the notion that what is being provided should be provided for the betterment of the customer. We all understand that underlying these customer experiences is the provider's ability to stay in business, but the emphasis now is on a genuine concern of customer over contract. If anyone providing a service can show that by creating a more personalised experience, the chances of repeat business go up.
As part of the emotional connection made when personalising a service, showing to your customers the service is more than just fulfilling a contract develops trust in the service provider. Of particular importance to our current world where a sense of authenticity is greatly appreciated by customers, personalising a service to a customer, in any way, shows without telling the extra effort being put in place by the provider. This in turn relates a sense of genuine interest in and passion for the service, imbuing trust. We take our custom to organisations we trust; if organisations can create positive experience anticipation by tailoring services to fit customer's needs and showing they care, the customer is more likely to trust them and in turn, make repeat visits. Repeat business, enhanced by customer trust, leads us to the final benefit of personalising services.
People start businesses because they care about what they're offering, but also of course to support themselves. By increasing their chances of building trust between themselves and customers, and increasing customer loyalty, it doesn't take a leap of logic to see how this translates to increased profits for the provider. An end-result as well as a benefit, services providers and organisations in general increase their chances of bettering their profits by personalising their services for their customers.
Whilst we've been very customer-focused here, all these factors can equally be applied to employee experience. After all, many customers of IT service providers are employees of an organisation making use of said service. The same case applies - if employees do not find a content, valuable experience, considering them and their circumstances to some degree - from a service provided to them through their organisation - the organisation will see the unfortunate resulting outcomes. In this case, if a provider does not want to resolve these experience concerns, usually by adhering to customer/employee wants and needs, and thereby personalising the service to their base, the unfortunate result could be a declined renewal of service. Try and strive towards the opposite, showing the customer/employee there is trust and a reason for customer loyalty, and renewal of contracts seems more likely.
Grieve, P. (2024) The importance of providing personalized service in 2024, Zendesk UK. Available at: https://www.zendesk.co.uk/blog/start-providing-personalized-customer-service/ Accessed: 26/01/24.